Last fall (er – that is autumn of 2015) I built my flock a deluxe chicken run adjacent to their coop. The new chicken run is free standing and completely separate from the coop. (See pictures of the run in this previous post.) I did not build it attached directly to the coop because I could not figure out how to do so and make it both functional and attractive. The solution was simple – a breezeway connecting the two! Though simple in concept, this was not easy to construct and install. You wouldn’t think that it would be too difficult to build a hard cloth covered channel (essentially a cube covered in mesh) between the coop and the run. However, getting this glorified box custom built and fitted between the two was a real pain in the ass.
There were a few challenges with installing the breezeway. First, the hole I cut into my existing coop did not line up with the hole I had built into the run. This required that I physically shove the whole chicken run structure back a bit. Then I discovered that the coop’s hole and the run’s hole were not on the same depth plane, so I had to dig out a bunch of earth around the coop’s hole. Lastly, when it came time to install the breezeway I discovered that the side of the coop facing the run was not at a straight (90 degree angle). Luckily it was close enough that I was able to manhandle the run to match the wonky angle of the coop.
Much to my chickens’ disappointment, I did not get the breezeway completed before the first of winter’s snows. This meant that the flock did not get to enjoy the new chicken run until springtime last year when I finally broke out the table saw and got cracking again. With much difficulty, the breezeway went in and the hens are now able to happily cross back and forth between coop and run. Having the breezeway for this winter has significantly improved the flock’s quality of life as they have twice the space to spend their days out of the snow and cold weather.
The breezeway has created new methods of troublemaking as a couple of the hens sometimes like to play “toll road” with their flockmates who wish to cross from the coop to the run. A couple of the nuttier hens like to sun themselves laying down in the breezeway – an odd choice since this bridge has an uncomfortable, hardcloth floor.
Overall, the breezeway is a success with the hens and the humans. If you have a coop to which you want to add a run – this may be a good model for you to follow. Just plan out the breezeway better than I did!
- How to Build Animal Housing: 60 Plans for Coops, Hutches, Barns, Sheds, Pens, Nestboxes, Feeders, Stanchions, and Much More — Excellent Book on Coop & Run Designs/Building
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